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Castro To Let Jews Emigrate to Israel

February 10, 1994

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Fidel Castro has promised to allow some Cuban Jews to emigrate to Israel, Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau said Wednesday.

The Cuban president places strict restrictions on the number of people allowed to leave Cuba, and Lau said Castro would not allow a mass emigration of the 1,000-member Jewish community.

″But he promised to grant any individual request from Israel to permit single Jews or Jewish families to emigrate to Israel,″ Lau said after returning from an unprecedented visit to one of the few remaining communist strongholds.

Castro also asked Lau to deliver a secret message to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the rabbi said. Lau said Castro told him Cuba would renew ties with Israel, cut after the 1973 Mideast war, only after peace came to the Mideast.

Lau, chief rabbi to Israel’s Ashkenazim, or Jews of European background, went to Cuba to bring spiritual succor to the Jews there. The community has been cut off from Jews abroad because of Cuba’s isolation.

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